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How to Prevent a Parking Garage Fire

Fire Sprinkler Installations & Inspections in Houston, TX

When it comes to parking garage fires, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is they’re relatively uncommon, and incidents are usually confined to a single vehicle. The bad news is a fire can strike without warning, so you can’t let your guard down.

The US Fire Administration estimates that about 650 parking garage fires occur in the US each year. These incidents cause an average of $7.6 million in property damage and 15 injuries annually.

If you operate a parking garage, follow these tips to prevent fires and ensure your fire protection equipment is prepared to battle a blaze if one breaks out.

Take Preventative Measures

  • Make sure your garage is designed to meet NFPA 88A Standard for Parking Structures.
  • Don’t allow the garage to become a storage area. Keep it clear of anything but cars.
  • Install a surveillance system to monitor the parking structure.
  • Install electronic pay stations and assign personnel to patrol the garage and provide customer service, perform security duties, and generally keep an eye on things.

Install a Sprinkler System

An automatic sprinkler system is your first line of defense against a parking garage fire. Heat from the flames rises to the ceiling, activating one sprinkler head at a time to battle the blaze without human intervention or endangerment. While the sprinklers do their job, your on-duty team member should dial 911 or the City of Houston Fire Department to get first responders on the scene as quickly as possible.

Maintain and Test Your Sprinkler System

Having a sprinkler system installed is only helpful if it’s functional. Neglect can lead to standing water in the pipes, corrosion, obstructions, and other problems that affect the performance of your fire sprinklers in an emergency. To keep your sprinklers in good working order, follow these tips:

  • Schedule due diligence inspections: Quarterly and annual fire sprinkler inspections verify correct pipe pitch and check for standing water. Of course, water can sit in a fire sprinkler pipe even if it’s at the proper slope, so you may need to install drum drips and remember to drain them weekly or monthly throughout the winter months to prevent corrosion and frozen pipes.
  • Conduct trip tests: Dry-pipe sprinkler systems require trip tests every three years to ensure the tripping mechanism functions correctly and that changing the air pressure in the system doesn’t cause false trips.
  • Schedule five-year inspections: As per NFPA 25, parking garage fire sprinklers require in-depth inspections every five years. This is the only service that checks inside the pipes for obstructions. If any are found, further investigation will take place to determine where the foreign material came from and how to prevent a recurrence. Then, a pipe flush removes obstructions from the pipes to restore their functionality.

Schedule Fire Protection Services for Your Parking Garage in Houston

Kauffman Co. is a fire protection company in Houston offering comprehensive services to our commercial customers, including parking garage owners. If you’re building a new parking structure in the area, trust us to design a code-compliant sprinkler system to suit your needs. Then, count on us for ongoing maintenance and repairs to ensure 24-hour protection for your parking structure.

To learn more about us, or to schedule fire protection services for your parking garage, please contact us today at (713) 893-1090.

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